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Couldn't Help Falling For You

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Chrissy had insisted no less than five times that morning that Waverly didn't need to help her move in to her new place, but Waverly was not taking no for an answer. Even after two years in the city, she still had the mistrust of it that came from growing up in a small town. Everyone always warned her how dangerous the 'big city' could be and Waverly hadn't believed them enough not to move to one but she was well aware that the crime rates were incredibly high, compared to places like Purgatory.

"My dad already dropped off most of my things yesterday, it's literally just these two boxes left!" Chrissy stated as Waverly picked up one of the boxes that Chrissy had left at her place while she went home for most of the summer, it was far heavier than she had anticipated, and she nearly dropped it before righting herself. Luckily Chrissy didn't notice.

"Nuh-uh, I'm coming. What if this girl is a total psycho?" Waverly widened her eyes, trying to get Chrissy see how worried Waverly was about this whole thing, maybe take on a little worry of her own. Chrissy had been struggling to find somewhere to live before the next semester began and Waverly had offered her a couch in her tiny apartment until she found somewhere, but Chrissy had found her new place the following day. Waverly couldn't help but feel like it was too good to be true.

"She's not a psycho Waves, Nicole's really nice and she's asking for rent I can actually afford." Chrissy shook her head, she knew Waverly had an overactive imagination, but she'd no doubt hoped that Waverly would've been thrilled to have them living so close to each other. They hadn't even lived so close to each other back home.

"See that's what makes me worry, why would someone purposefully ask for so little rent?" It had been bugging Waverly since Chrissy had told her just how cheap it was, she'd be paying even less than Waverly paid for her piece of shit studio apartment. Maybe she was just a little jealous…

"I don't know, maybe she's a good person and she doesn't feel the need to gouge fellow students just because she was unfortunate enough to inherit the money to buy somewhere at the age of twenty-two!" Chrissy was clearly getting agitated and Waverly, put the box back down on the floor since Chrissy wasn't making moves to actually leave, while she processed the information she was just given.

"Oh…did her parents…" Waverly let her words trail off, the implication abundantly clear. Waverly knew that feeling all too well and she cursed herself for thinking badly of someone who had potentially gone through something so similar to herself.

"I don't know," Chrissy said softly, and Waverly nodded. "She just said she bought the place with inheritance. She didn't tell me from who."

"Well you could have told me that part…"

"I didn't even realise you were worried about this, why would I think I needed to justify her decisions to you?" Chrissy sighed as she lifted the other box.

"Right…well I'm still coming." Waverly stated firmly and picked up her box from the floor beside her feet, this time remembering to lift with her knees.

"Fine, let's go! She said she needed to be leaving in half an hour and I don't have my key yet." Chrissy ushered Waverly out of her own apartment, she didn't feel the need to say they would have already been on their way if Chrissy hadn't been so adamant that Waverly didn't need to come with her.

 

Chrissy knocked on the door, awkwardly balancing a box against her hip as Waverly held onto the one she was holding with both of her arms. She wasn't sure what Chrissy had inside but if she had to guess it was rocks or bricks or something else equally ridiculous and heavy. She really needed to start going to the gym again.

The door opened and the Nicole stood in the doorway. An awkward smile curled around the toothbrush hanging out the side of her mouth. A tiny dribble making its way down her chin as her mouth opened.

"Hey!" Chrissy beamed, and Nicole took a couple steps back from the door to let them enter. She ran quickly down the hall, Waverly could hear some spitting and then a steady stream of water before Nicole jogged back through with a clean face and a bright, slightly less lop-sided smile.

"Hey, sorry! My internship starts in like twenty minutes, so I've really got to run but your key is on the table, there's some food your dad left in the fridge and coffee in," Nicole spun around and pointed to a cupboard behind her. "That cupboard. I'll be back around six, if you'll be around."

"My dad really left food for me?" Chrissy was obviously surprised, but Nicole nodded with a sincere smile. "Cool. Oh! This is Waverly, you'll no doubt be seeing a lot of her." Chrissy gestured to Waverly who was just setting down the box, she literally couldn't hold it a second longer. Nicole stepped forward and offered Waverly a hand to shake which she took after a moment because her eyes were too focussed on the small wet patch on the girl's otherwise perfect shirt.

"Nice to meet you, you've got uh…" Waverly gestured with her free hand to Nicole's top and Nicole looked down as she cursed under her breath.

"Shit." Nicole said again, still holding Waverly's hand as she wiped at the shirt, only making it worse. "I'm definitely going to be late." She squeezed Waverly's hand once and released it. Waverly's breath came out staggered as the warmth that had enveloped her hand was lost and her fingers tingled. She quickly shook her head, it was just a handshake…

Nicole turned around and jogged down the hall to where Waverly could only imagine her room was. She heard frantic searching and then Nicole saying goodbye while still inside the room. Waverly's brow furrowed but before she had long to wonder who Nicole was talking to, she was walking back down the hall, slowly doing up the buttons on a fresh shirt. Waverly gulped. Nicole had abs…beautiful, toned abs. Waverly couldn't tear her eyes away.

"Shae's still half asleep so don't be alarmed if you hear someone moving around once I'm out of your hair!" Nicole laughed, and Chrissy joined in, as if the name meant something to her. "I really do have to go though, make yourself at home. Me casa es su casa!" Nicole grabbed a set of keys from a bowl by the door, threw on a light jacket and waved before making her exit.

"Told you she was nice." Chrissy nudged Waverly before leading her through the kitchen to her new room, right across the hall from Nicole's.

 

"Who's Shae?" Waverly asked, keeping her voice low and trying really really hard to sound like she didn't care if Chrissy answered or not. "Does she live here too?"

"Nicole's girlfriend. She has her own place, but she was here when I came to check out the room…and now apparently." Chrissy shrugged like it was no big deal and it totally was except Waverly, inexplicably, felt a sense of loss.

"Girlfriend…so she's uh…" Waverly stammered and immediately questioned what exactly was going on with her. She'd barely been able to form a coherent thought since Nicole walked through, stomach and just a little bit of her bra on display.

"Gay?" Chrissy asked, throwing an amused grin over her shoulder as she placed the box she was carrying down on the bed. "Yeah, she's gay. She figured it was best to let me know right off the bat rather than find out I'm some homophobic asshole down the line." Chrissy laughed, and Waverly just stood nodding her head. Nicole was gay…

"Cool…cool." What did it matter that Nicole liked women? It wasn't like it was putting any images in Waverly's mind, nope. None at all. Anyway, she had a girlfriend…not that it mattered. Waverly was straight. Straighter than straight…right?

"You alright there?" Chrissy quirked an eyebrow at Waverly, who was desperately hoping that her cheeks did not look nearly as warm as they felt.

"Yup. Super. Great. Where's the bathroom?"

"Third door on the…" Chrissy spun around, holding her hands out in front herself, figuring out which direction was which. "Left. No, wait! Right." Waverly nodded and made her way out of the room.

She locked the bathroom door behind her and looked in the mirror. The room was still a little steamy, Nicole had obviously not long got out of the shower and the air still held the fragrance of whatever products she'd been using. Waverly found herself breathing it in deeply. She shook her head, turned on the faucet and splashed some cold water on her face.

"What is wrong with you, Earp?" Waverly muttered to herself. She turned around quickly as someone tried the door, narrowly missing knocking the face and mouth wash sitting beside the sink off and onto the floor. She dried off her face and opened the door to come face to face with Shae.

Shae just looked at her, nodded and slunk past as Waverly exited the bathroom. Eyes fixed firmly ahead of her and not at Shae, who was in nothing but her underwear.

Maybe she should warn Chrissy that Nicole's girlfriend liked to walk around practically naked.

 

Waverly decided it was best not to stick around Chrissy's new place too long after helping her unpack most of her things. She ignored the tiny voice in the back of her head that told her it would be nice to see Nicole again and if she just waited around until after six…

No, she wasn't doing that. She was going home, to her lonely apartment, where she would cook herself a meal for one and settle in with a book for the night. She had a whole month before classes started again, she wanted to at least get a couple books off her to-read list before all she would have time for was required reading.

She definitely did not look at Nicole's Facebook profile, after noticing she and Chrissy had become friends, she certainly didn't think that Nicole's last name was perfectly apt, and she absolutely did not feel a hint of jealousy seeing the words 'In a relationship with Shae Pressman' written there.

 

***

 

Waverly managed to avoid spending time at Chrissy's for all of three days before her friend started to think there was something wrong. Waverly had been making up excuses every time Chrissy asked to hang out, just in case she suggested her new place. Which may or may not have led to Waverly running into Nicole. Which couldn't happen.

Nicole was attractive and the fact that she was interested in women had just intrigued Waverly for a…second. Ok, maybe more than a second but that's all it was, genuine curiosity. Nothing more. Waverly knew that it couldn't be.

Chrissy answered the door, concern evident on her face the moment her eyes met Waverly's.

"We saw each other more when I lived on the other side of the city! Is everything alright?" Chrissy lay a hand on Waverly's shoulder and Waverly nodded, trying hard to force a smile.

"I know, I'm sorry." Waverly followed Chrissy into the apartment, thankful that Nicole didn't seem to be anywhere in her line of sight and sat down on the couch in the adjoining kitchen and living room area. "I've just had a few things on my mind but I'm good, I promise."

"You better be!" Chrissy playfully pushed her. "What's been wrong?"

"It was silly, absolutely nothing to worry about." Waverly smiled and foolishly believed herself, until about five seconds later when Nicole walked through the door. Clad in tight running shorts, nothing but a glorified sports bra covering her top section and her whole body covered in a thin layer of sweat.

"Hey. Waverly, right?" Nicole smiled, and Waverly took a couple seconds to even register her name being said. Why did Waverly find that smile so damn pretty?

"Yep, Waverly. That's me!" Waverly laughed awkwardly, she could see Chrissy's confused look out the corner of her eye. Sometimes it was bad having someone around you that had known you practically your whole life. They knew exactly when something was up.

"Nice to see you again, I'm gonna go get not so sweaty. We still ordering from that new place down the street?" She threw her thumb over her shoulder before looking at Chrissy and waiting for a response. Chrissy, who had somehow not mentioned that Nicole would be joining them for dinner that night.

"Yes! Every time I walk past my mouth waters, we have to try it!" Chrissy clenched her hands into fists and shook them excitedly.

"Great, give me like fifteen minutes!" With that Nicole walked down the hall, pulling off her top as she went, and Waverly had to force her eyes away.

"You didn't mention she'd be joining us tonight…" Waverly tried to sound as casual as possible, she couldn't show that it bothered her in the slightest because it shouldn't. It didn't…except that it did because Waverly had no idea how to handle the thoughts that had popped into her head the second she saw Nicole in her post workout glory.

"Oh yeah, she was supposed to be seeing Shae but then she was busy, so I said Nicole could join us." Chrissy shrugged like it was an easy explanation and it should have been except there was the reminder that Waverly's thoughts were more than just confusing, they were inappropriate. Nicole had a girlfriend. "I mean, as long as it's alright with you?"

"Yeah…totally." Waverly couldn't very well tell Chrissy she didn't want Nicole to have dinner with them, that would only complicate things further or worse, mean that Waverly had to confide in her friend why exactly she felt she couldn't be around Nicole. "No worries at all." Waverly was in fact a bundle of worries, tied together with a string made up of one big worry; why the hell were these thoughts appearing in her head?

Nicole sat on the other couch, after handing her iPad over so they could choose what they wanted to eat. Nicole kindly offered to go pick it up for them, but Chrissy said she wanted to.

"The guy behind the counter smiles at me when I walk past. I need to see if he has any real potential." Chrissy wiggled her eyebrows which caused Nicole to laugh and if it wasn't just the most amazing sound that Waverly had ever heard. A smile broke out on her face until she came to the realisation that that would mean she would be left with Nicole. Alone. She could barely look her in the eye without thinking something wholly inappropriate, how was she supposed to make small talk until Chrissy returned?

 

"So, you're studying history, right?" Nicole asked, after a few beats of silence following Chrissy's departure.

"Yeah?" Waverly's brow furrowed, how did she know that? Was there a chance that Nicole had done a little social media stalking of her own?

"You don't seem too sure about that." Nicole laughed again, and Waverly pushed down the thought that she would do anything and everything to keep hearing that sound.

"I mean yeah…yes, I am. How did you know?" Hope bloomed in Waverly's chest at the thought of Nicole feeling the need to know more about her.

"Chrissy talks a lot." Nicole replied but affectionately, like it was something she enjoyed about her new roommate. Waverly knew exactly how much Chrissy liked to talk, it was something that she enjoyed as well. She could always count on Chrissy for advice and a lot of it, well normally she could. Waverly had never encountered a problem where she felt she couldn't go to Chrissy for help, until now.

"What about you? You've got an internship at the moment, right?" Waverly asked, thinking back to her initial meeting with Nicole and remembering that yes, she had mentioned it then and it was not something that Waverly had learned from her Facebook page.

"Criminal justice and yeah but it's not really what I want to do. I'm working in a law office right now, but I want to go into law enforcement after I graduate." Nicole said proudly. Suddenly Waverly's mind was filled to the brim with images of Nicole in uniform. She cleared her throat, hoping it would clear her mind as well.

"I'm presuming Chrissy told you about her dad then?" Waverly asked, trying to picture Randy Nedley in uniform instead.

"Yeah, we actually talked for nearly an hour when he came to drop off her things." Nicole said with a smile, Waverly loved Chrissy's dad, but she was a little surprised she'd managed to keep him talking for that length of time. Then again, she was surprised at how easily she was conversing with her. She wasn't stumbling over her words like an idiot, she wasn't thinking about how Nicole had looked when she came home from her run...even if she had thought about what she might look like in uniform. Maybe all she needed to do was get to know Nicole, something Nicole seemed to be making very easy and her errand thoughts would just go away. Simple really.

"Lucky it was Chrissy that responded to your need for a roommate then!" Waverly smiled and just as she thought that being friends with Nicole would solve her little problem, she was struck with yet another thought she absolutely should not have had. Waverly was lucky that Chrissy had found this place, otherwise she never would have met Nicole.

"Right?! I had a few total weirdos come to look at the room before her, had to rerun the ad and ask specifically for females." Nicole shuddered for comic effect.

"Well it's a lovely place you have, definitely a lot nicer than where I live." Waverly said a little forlorn, she would love to have a place half as nice as Nicole's. Nicole's face dropped but Waverly waved off her concern. "It's not bad bad, just a little small but it's all I could afford."

"Ah…yeah, guess I'm lucky to have this place even with the way I came about it." Nicole shrugged, and Waverly wanted to know more but Chrissy returned, and Nicole jumped up from the couch to grab plates and utensils, effectively ending their sharing session.

With the TV on in the background and food in front of them, they had a pleasant dinner swapping stories about their time at university. Nicole was funny, really funny and had both Waverly and Chrissy in stitches with stories about her professors. She was about to enter her final year and it was obvious she was glad it was coming to an end, so she could finally get to work on what she really wanted to do.

Nicole's face lit up as she received a text, but Waverly's fell as she announced it was from Shae and that she was coming over after all. Waverly shook the disappointment from her mind quickly, it didn't have to mean Nicole would have to stop hanging out with them. Waverly told herself she'd like to get to know Shae too, but the moment Nicole answered the door to her, off they went to Nicole's room and Waverly simply couldn't shake the disappointment that time.

Nicole wasn't just attractive, she was lovely and warm and so funny that Waverly's cheeks continued to hurt from smiling so much, long after Nicole had retreated to her room with Shae.

She couldn't have thoughts about Nicole, she shouldn't have thoughts about Nicole. She couldn't see her as anything other than a friend and yet the moment she had left her space, Waverly felt the room get a little colder.

She didn't understand what was happening…she was not interested in women and she was not interested in Nicole…no matter what tricks her mind was playing on her. Waverly just wanted to be her friend…right?